The fourth installment of the “Bourne” franchise dispenses with Matt Damon, who took a pass this time, and instead gives us Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, another off-the-grid special forces agent with a grudge.
Unlike Jason Bourne (Damon), Aaron has a mostly intact memory, but it all amounts to the same thing. He was part of a program called Operation Outcome that, with the help of a regular regimen of little blue and green pills, greatly enhanced his mental and physical capacities. With Jason “infecting” top-secret programs as a renegade loose in New York (this film dovetails the conclusion of “The Bourne Ultimatum”), the über-ops bad guy played by Edward Norton decides Aaron and his Outcome cohorts have to go bye-bye.
Running from CIA assassins and government agents, Aaron’s main motivation here is pharmaceutical. He’s run out of those pills. Enter genetic scientist Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), who has been on the top-secret government payroll but sees the light. She helps engineer Aaron’s chemical make-over – but not before a lot of shootouts and chase scenes culminating in a smackdown in Manila. Thanks to a skimpy back story, the stalwart Renner is somewhat characterless. Director and co-writer Tony Gilroy, a veteran of the “Bourne” series, is good at scenes of high-level nastiness, but there’s too much confusing exposition in this “Legacy” and the action scenes, some of them good, are too little and too late. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences.)